Eric Bailly has been named as one of the players to have openly questioned Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the Manchester United dressing room in one of the latest reports on the under-pressure manager’s future.
Solskjaer’s position is under intense scrutiny after a disastrous week. United lost 4-2 to Leicester, before coming from behind to overcome Atalanta 3-2 in midweek and then seeing things hit a new low with a 5-0 defeat to Liverpool on Sunday.
Solskjaer admitted after the game that he was at the lowest point of his reign as Man Utd boss. There have since been several reports about a potential shift in the owners’ stance regarding his position.
United put their faith in Solskjaer by extending his contract until 2024 earlier this year. However, a tough run of games follows the Liverpool humiliation. One pundit has predicted he now has three games to save his job.
TEAMtalk understands the Norwegian will still be staying put for a while. But the external pressure is only increasing – and it seems it is on an internal scale too.
According to the Telegraph, some Man Utd players are “losing faith” in Solskjaer. Most like him on a personal level but are questioning aspects of his managerial ability. In fact, some think he has “outstayed his welcome”.
The report reveals four ways in which some players are unhappy with Solskjaer. Namely, they are concerned by his “tactical acumen, selections, reluctance to make big decisions and indulgence of underperforming players and star names”.
For example, centre-back Bailly is said to have called Solskjaer out in the dressing room after the game against Leicester. The Ivorian challenged his coach for picking Harry Maguire, who was not at full fitness, instead of him.
It is one example of Solskjaer sticking with certain starters, when he has enough depth to consider alternatives.
Another backup who has not seen much gametime under Solskjaer is Donny van de Beek. The midfielder has been limited to four starts in 14 months. According to the Telegraph, another player asked Solskjaer why he continuously snubs him.
Jesse Lingard and Nemanja Matic are other alternatives whose lack of action has been questioned by some.
Hence, there is a feeling that Solskjaer is “repeating the same mistakes”. Given their current form, he may have to broaden his mind to avoid slipping closer to the sack.
Man Utd job offer discarded
One thing United chiefs would have to consider if dismissing Solskjaer is how to replace him.
Antonio Conte has been linked with the role but there are some concerns about him. They may otherwise have to turn to managers already in work.
One who is out of a job at present is Zinedine Zidane. Reports have suggested Cristiano Ronaldo would welcome a reunion with his former Real Madrid boss.
But a report on Monday revealed Zidane has “discarded” United’s potential offer. He is still recharging after leaving Madrid.
When the time comes for him to return to management, it will not be in Manchester. Rather, he is eyeing a future role at either Paris Saint-Germain or with the France national team.
Neither job is currently vacant, so he is seemingly willing to wait and snub Man Utd in the process.
The Red Devils, therefore, will have to keep searching far and wide.